Bruins-Penguins Preview

Losing the reigning Hart Trophy winner for an extended period of

time is never ideal, but the Pittsburgh Penguins seem equipped with

enough weapons to make the absence of Evgeni Malkin relatively


The Boston Bruins are ready to test that theory.

Pittsburgh looks to win a sixth straight game Tuesday night by

earning a fourth consecutive victory over visiting Boston, which

has earned at least a point in 11 of its 12 road games.

Malkin suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury in Saturday’s

5-4 overtime win over Toronto, and he’s expected to miss at least a


The Penguins (18-8-0) didn’t miss him the following night, when

Chris Kunitz registered his second hat trick this season while

adding a pair of assists in a 6-1 win over the New York


Sidney Crosby, who leads the NHL with 45 points, had five

assists to give him a league-best 33.

”I get to play with the best player in the world every night,”

Kunitz said of Crosby, who centers their line that also includes

Pascal Dupuis. ”It makes going out and playing a lot of fun.”

Kunitz, who leads the league with a plus-21 rating, is having a

breakout season with 17 goals and 19 assists and has scored a goal

in six of his last seven games. He has 10 goals and five assists in

that stretch and ranks behind only Crosby and Tampa Bay’s Steven

Stamkos (37) in points.

”The way Kuni’s firing the puck right now, he makes all of us

look good by putting the puck in the back of the net,” Crosby


James Neal extended his goal-scoring streak to four Sunday and

has 17 on the season, and Dupuis scored twice to extend his own

streak to three.

The Kunitz-Crosby-Dupuis line has accounted for 24 goals when

playing together – more than any line in the league.

”We want to make sure that we’re producing,” said Crosby, who

has five goals and 15 assists during an NHL-best nine-game point

streak. ”We found a way to take advantage of our chances. It’s

something we want to keep doing.”

Crosby has three goals and three assists during Pittsburgh’s

three-game winning streak over Boston, which also will be seeking

to end the Penguins’ four-game run at home.

The Bruins (17-3-3) improved to 9-1-2 on the road with a 3-2

shootout victory over Ottawa on Monday after falling behind by two

goals early. Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille scored in regulation,

and David Krejci added the shootout winner for Boston, which has

won three straight overall.

Krejci also assisted on Paille’s goal.

”David’s a disher and David did what he had to do. He put it

right on the tape and Dan took care of the rest,” coach Claude

Julien said.

Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for his second shutout, but backup

Anton Khudobin could get the start in net Tuesday in the second of

a back-to-back. Khudobin is 4-1-0 with a 2.41 goals-against average

and has stopped 45 of 49 shots while winning his last two


Marc-Andre Fleury should get the start for Pittsburgh, but he’s

2-1-0 with a 4.43 GAA over his last four starts, also getting

pulled after giving up four goals in the first period of Thursday’s

win over Philadelphia.

Fleury, though, is 6-2-0 with a 1.75 GAA in his last eight

starts versus Boston.